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What’s hot in food microbiology? Find out from experts in the food and drink industry about the current and future microbiology issues affecting the safe production of food. This year, our popular annual conference is brought to you online, so you’ll be able to access it from work or at home!

COVID-19 takes centre stage as our Campden BRI specialists discuss foodborne viruses in the food industry while Vikan’s Debra Smith tells you all you need to know about the impact of COVID-19 on cleaning and disinfection. You’ll build an understanding of how to guard your factory from a COVID-19 outbreak to keep your workforce safe.

With the largest pandemic of our lifetime playing a pivotal role in many food and drink businesses’ decision making, this year’s online conference is possibly the most important one to date.

The usual ‘suspects’, including Campylobacter and Listeria, will also feature in thought-provoking presentations. The University of Wageningen’s Dr Maren Lanzl will explore the challenges of Campylobacter’s detection, while Dr Nigel Cook will cover how to rapidly screen poultry samples for Campylobacter (without enrichment). And what about Listeria? Dr Mieke Uttendaele from the University of Ghent will explore why we just can’t get rid of Listeria monocytogenes.

These talks, alongside Dr Tim Sandle’s presentation on the ‘Microbiology aspects of cleaning validation’, will p rovide you with a greater understanding of how to safeguard your factory and workforce from both current and future microbiological threats.

What else will be covered?

Whether you are involved in the microbiological testing of food products or oversee the hygiene and safety of food production, this comprehensive conference will help you by covering cleaning validation, sanitiser efficacy, the presence of Cronobacter spp. in ready-to-eat insects, and how to reduce Campylobacteriosis in the poultry production system.

Who should attend?

Food and beverage laboratory personnel, microbiologists and technical managers, food manufacturers, quality assurance (QA) staff and food safety managers.

Spanning three days from 6-8 October 2020 (Tuesday to Thursday) from 12:55 to 16:15 BST each day, you’ll have the opportunity to join the conference live and pose questions to presenters. There will also be the chance to catch-up with the recorded presentations after the event.

Event Director

Provisional programme

Day 1

Time Presentation
12:55 Welcome and chairman’s introduction
Dr Roy Betts, Campden BRI
13:00-13:40 Challenges of Campylobacter detection: Effect of strain variability and competitive flora on enrichment-based detection procedures
Although a lot of effort has been made to improve enrichment-based detection procedures, reliable detection of Campylobacter spp. from food products remains to be challenging. In order to learn more about the behaviour of C. jejuni and C. coli during enrichment and to shed more light on the blackbox of Campylobacter enrichments, we investigated the effect of food-relevant stresses on the viability and recovery duration during enrichment of 23 Campylobacter strains. Furthermore, we assessed whether lag-duration or the presence of competing background microbiota might be a reason for false-negative detection outcomes.
Maren Lanzl, University of Wageningen
13:45-14:25 Can we reduce human Campylobacteriosis without radical changes to our poultry production system?
Fifty to sixty thousand cases of Campylobacter diarrhoea are recorded each year in England and Wales, while total cases are estimated to be at least ten times higher. Although mortality is low, costs in terms of economic productivity, medical costs and human suffering are high. The major source of infection is poultry meat, with fewer cases from raw milk and untreated water.
Dr Janet Corry
14:25 Comfort break
14:35-15:15 Rapid lamp-based method for screening poultry samples for Campylobacter without enrichment
Dr Nigel Cook, Jorvik Food and Environmental Virology
15:20-16:00 Microbiology aspects of cleaning validation
Dr Tim Sandle, BioProducts laboratory
16:00-16:15 Chairman’s overview and closing comments

Day 2

Time Presentation
12:55 Welcome and chairman’s introduction
Dr Roy Betts, Campden BRI
13:00-13:40 Listeria monocytogenes: The never ending story
Listeria monocytogenes has been established as a foodborne pathogen since the 1980’s. Many efforts have been done since to control L. monocytogenes in the food supply chain. Still in the last couple of years the reported Listeriosis cases have increased and a number of foodborne outbreaks in 2018 and 2019 have put this pathogen again up-front in our combat against food borne pathogens. What has happened, what is lacking, what can/should we do to tackle the never ending story of L. monocytogenes?
Prof. Mieke Uttendaele, University of Ghent
13:45-14:25 Sars-Cov2 and foodborne viruses in the food industry
A brief overview of the effects of COVID-19 on the food industry – current issues and other foodborne virus news. What are some reasons meat processing facilities and other similar environments are prone to outbreaks of COVID-19? Are you remembering that foodborne viruses such as Norovirus and Hepatitis A continue to be major food safety risks? How can Campden BRI help you to take the guesswork out of these risks? These points are discussed in this presentation.
Martin D’Agostino, Campden BRI
14:25 Comfort break
14:35-15:15 Use of a surrogate for COVID 19 sanitiser efficacy
This presentation will give an overview of the difficulties in assessing the effectiveness of control strategies against viruses such as norovirus and Sars-cov-2 . Providing information on how surrogates can be used instead of the target virus to validate virus control measures
Annette Sansom, Campden BRI
15:20-16:00 The impact of COVID 19 on cleaning and disinfection
Deb Smith, Vikan
16:00-16:15 Chairman’s overview and closing comments

Day 3

Time Presentation
12:55 Welcome and chairman’s introduction
Dr Phil Voysey, Campden BRI
13:00-13:40 Examining the presence of Cronobacter spp. In ready-to-eat edible insects
With the growing interest in edible insects as alternative food sources, it is necessary to understand the associated microbiological hazards and potential implications. In our study, we detected presumptive Cronobacter spp. in ready-to-eat edible insects, using selective culture methods. This presentation discusses the emerging opportunistic pathogens and their relationship with edible insects for human consumption.
Dr Daniel Amund, University of Coventry
13:45-14:25 Biofilms in the food industry and new biofilm control strategies
Biofilm-mediated colonization of food processing environments by undesired microorganisms, i.e. pathogenic and spoilage microorganisms, is a serious problem regarding food safety and food quality. Due to the difficulty of removing mature biofilms, great efforts are being dedicated to find novel agents or strategies for the control of biofilm formation or its removal. The talk will summarize these aspects and will specifically focus on one of these approaches, which targets the prevention of bacterial adherence to surfaces, the first step for biofilm development, through the application of coatings that modify the phisico-chemical characteristics of the surface.
Paula Fernández Gómez, University of León, Spain
14:25 Comfort break
14:35-15:15 Case report of Salmonella cross-contamination in a food laboratory
Cross-contamination in a food laboratory led to a false-positive Salmonella result for exported chocolate bars. Despite the large number of cross-contamination events described in clinical laboratories, especially when working with DNA amplifying techniques, similar reports of cross-contamination in food laboratories are rather scarce. This case and some other examples will be explained during this presentation including the most important sources and routes of cross-contamination.
Dr Geertrui Rasschaert, Research Inst. for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (IVLO), Belgium
15:20-16:00 EFSA opinion on the public health risk posed by Listeria monocytogenes in frozen fruit and vegetables including herbs, blanched during processing
The outcome of the EFSA opinion related to the public health risk posed by Listeria monocytogenes in frozen fruit and vegetables including herbs, blanched during processing will be presented. As no fruit groups and typically no herbs are blanched, while some or all groups of vegetables may be blanched, the assessment was limited to frozen vegetables. The public health impact of L. monocytogenes contamination, and if considered relevant of other pathogens, of blanched frozen vegetables will be compared with other foods. The main factors affecting contamination and/or growth of L. monocytogenes in blanched frozen vegetables during processing and after processing and until consumption will be summarized. At last, recommendations will be provided on (i) possible control options that may be implemented by food business operators during the production process of blanched frozen vegetables and assess their efficacy to reduce public health risks and on (ii) routine monitoring for L. monocytogenes in blanched frozen vegetables.
Dr. Winy Messens, European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), Italy
16:00-16:15 Chairman’s overview and closing comments


  • Roy Betts, Campden BRI
    Roy Betts

    About Roy Betts

    Roy Betts is the Microbiology Ambassador at Campden BRI, an independent international food consultancy and research organisation based in the UK. Read more...

  • Maren Lanzl, University of Wageningen
    Maren Lanzl is a PhD candidate at the Department of Food Microbiology at Wageningen University, the Netherlands. Her PhD project deals with the detection of thermotolerant Campylobacter spp. from food products, more specifically the behaviour of C. jejuni and C. coli during enrichment following ISO 10272-1:2017. By investigating strain variability in recovery duration after previous food-relevant stresses, population heterogeneity in outgrowth and the effect of competing background microbiota on the growth of campylobacters during enrichment, she and her promotors try to shed more light on the blackbox of Campylobacter enrichments.
  • Dr Janet Corry
    Dr Corry worked for over forty years in the field of food microbiology, in various food research organisations, including the Meat Research Institute and Leatherhead Food Research Association, for the UK Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and for a leading UK food retailer. Her final role before retirement was Reader in Food Microbiology at the University of Bristol, School of Veterinary Sciences, during which time, as well as teaching undergraduate and postgraduate students, she developed her interests in the ecology of campylobacters and salmonellas in food animals and in the abattoir environment. She also worked on meat spoilage problems, particularly Clostridium estertheticum and other Clostridium species that cause spoilage of vacuum-packed red meat, and on methods for decontamination of raw meat. https://www.langfordvets.co.uk/diagnostic-laboratories/services/clostridium-estertheticum-testing/
    Besides extensive professional contacts in the UK, she has participated in EU projects in Hungary and Estonia, and British Council projects in Hungary, Greece and Italy, which provide her with extensive contacts in Europe with microbiologists concerned with human and animal health. From her post as Treasurer of the International Committee for Food Microbiology and Hygiene (ICFMH), from 1996-2019, she has contacts world-wide. She is also co-convenor of the Working Party on Culture Media (WPCM) of the ICFMH. Dr Corry is editor of the book published by the WPCM and now in its 3rd edition - “Handbook of Culture Media for Food and Water Microbiology” which includes descriptions and recipes for about 80 selective culture media, as well as quality assurance testing methods and defined t est strains for each medium. These methods have been widely adopted by media manufacturers, the International Standards Organisation (ISO) and the European Standards Organisation (CEN). She participated in reviews for the European Food Safety Authority concerning Campylobacter spp. in poultry, and is still publishing research papers concerned with this topic.
  • Dr Nigel Cook, Jorvik Food and Environmental Virology
  • Dr Tim Sandle, BioProducts laboratory
  • Prof. Mieke Uttendaele, University of Ghent
    Mieke Uyttendaele is a leading scientist in the field of food hygiene and food safety with high experience in the microbial analysis of foods and the prevalence and behaviour of food borne pathogens from farm to fork.
    Prof. Mieke Uyttendaele has a diploma of Bio-Science Engineering and Ph.D in Applied Biological Sciences (1996) from Ghent University, Belgium and holds an academic position as Full Professor at the Department of Food Technology, Food safety and Health at Ghent University in Belgium. Her research area covers aspects of microbial analysis of foods and food safety including a wide variety of pathogens and foods. She uses the knowledge on food borne pathogens and general food microbiology as the basis for input in microbial risk assessment. In the period 2010-2014 she was the coordinator of the EU FP7 Veg-i-Trade project looking into the impact of climate change and international trade on food safety of fresh produce. She has been an ad hoc member of several EFSA panels’ working groups and was a member of the Scientific Committee of the Belgian Food Safety Agency in period 2009-2017.
    Throughout her career she was/is the promotor of ca. 25 Ph.D students (including also various non-EU citizens) and has published more than 270 peer reviewed scientific papers and presented at numerous international Conferences/Workshops.
    For a full biography refer to https://biblio.ugent.be/person/801000883868 She is also main author of the book ‘Microbiological Guidelines: Support for Interpretation of Microbiological Test Results of Foods’ (die Keure publishing 2018, 478 pgs, ISBN 9782874035036).
    Currently she is member of COST Action 16110 – Control of Human Pathogenic Micro-organisms in Plant Production Systems (HUPLANTcontrol) (https://huplantcontrol.igzev.de/)
    For more information on her current research topics refer to https://www.ugent.be/bw/foodscience/en/research/faculty/miekeuyttendaele
  • Martin D’Agostino, Campden BRI
    Martin D'Agostino

    About Martin D'Agostino

    Martin D'Agostino joined Campden BRI in 2016 as a food virologist after having worked at the Food and Environment Research Agency (DEFRA) since 1994. Read more...

  • Annette Sansom, Campden BRI
    Annette Sansom

    About Annette Sansom

    Annette Sansom joined Campden BRI in 1998 as a senior technician in the Microbiological Analytical Services group having graduated from the University of Bedfordshire with a BSc in Biology. Read more...

  • Deb Smith, Vikan
    Deb has over 35 years of food safety/research training and experience. Prior to joining Vikan she worked for 16 years in DEFRAs Food Safety Division; and 9 years as Food Hygiene Research Manager at Campden BRI. Deb holds qualifications in Applied Microbiology (HNC), Nutrition & Food Science (BSc(Hons)), Advanced Food Hygiene and HACCP, and is a qualified FSSC 22000 Lead Auditor. She has authored/co-authored of numerous food safety/hygiene publications, and regularly presents her research at National and International food safety events. Deb is an active Committee Member of both EHEDG and IFST. She is also current Chair of the Campden BRI Microbiology MIG, and sits on the Service Provision Technical Working Group of GFSI. At Vikan Deb provides food safety and hygiene advice, training and support, both internally and to the food industry.
  • Phil Voysey, Campden BRI
    Phil Voysey

    About Phil Voysey

    Phil is a Section Manager in the Microbiology Department at Campden BRI and his Section’s duties include organising and running microbiology training courses and the Campden Microbiology Proficiency Scheme. Read more...

  • Dr Daniel Amund, University of Coventry
    Daniel Amund is a Lecturer in Food Science at Coventry University. He completed a PhD at London Metropolitan University in 2014, which examined the effects of stress conditions on probiotic functional properties of bifidobacteria. Daniel joined Coventry University in 2015 and is currently the course director of the BSc Food Science programme.
  • Paula Fernández Gómez, University of León
    Paula Fernández Gómez has a BSc in Biotechnology from the University of Oviedo and a MSc in Microbiology from the Complutense University of Madrid. She is currently undertaking a PhD at the University of León on “Microbial persistence control through anti-biofilm coatings obtained with Non-Equilibrium Atmospheric Plasma on industrial surfaces”
  • Dr Geertrui Rasschaert, Research Inst. for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (IVLO)
    Dr. Geertrui Rasschaert obtained her PhD, entitled ‘the molecular epidemiology of Salmonella and Campylobacter during poultry transport and slaughter’ in 2007. Since then, she is working as senior researcher at ILVO, where her main interests are bacteriological zoonoses in primary production, use of antimicrobials and antimicrobial resistance in the primary production, molecular techniques and gastro-intestinal fermentation systems to mimic the gastro-intestinal gut of animals. The last few years, she has been involved in projects concerning control measures to reduce Salmonella, Campylobacter and Listeria in primary production and/or slaughterhouse level, antimicrobial residues and resistance in livestock, manure, soil and water and several other projects where mainly her expertise on molecular characterization was used.
  • Dr Winy Messens, European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), Italy
    Winy Messens is currently Senior Scientific Officer in the Biological Hazards and Contaminants Unit of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). Her role is to provide scientific support to the EFSA Scientific Panel on Biological Hazards (BIOHAZ Panel) in the area of food microbiology. Winy joined EFSA in 2010 and previously worked as scientist and post-doc scientist at the Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research (ILVO), Vrije Universiteit Brussels and Ghent University coordinating both national and international research projects. She holds a master as Bio-engineer, option Food Technology and a PhD in Applied Biological Sciences from Ghent University.

Please note copies of the presentations will not be available on the day but a recording of the event will be made available within a few days of the event for registered delegates.

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